The government and opposition agreed Wednesday to fast-track a bill through Parliament to block killer Karla Homolka from winning a pardon.
The original bill, C-23, essentially proposed to change the waiting period for summary offences from 3 to 5 years and indictable offences from 5 to 10 years. It also proposes that individuals would not be granted a pardon if they had more than 3 indictable offence or were convicted of a sexual offence.
Late Wednesday, the government decided to split the original bill in two. Under the provisions that will pass immediately, anyone convicted of a serious personal injury offence — including manslaughter, violent assault and sexual assault — will have to wait 10 years after release from prison before applying for a pardon. Currently, they must wait three to five years.
The new bill also lets the National Parole Board reject applications that would bring “the administration of justice into disrepute”, essentially allowing them to prevent notorious criminals from receiving a pardon.
Along with the Parliament, the Senate must also pass the bill before it can go into effect. Although the Parliament breaks for the summer on Friday, the Senate will sit several weeks longer.
The remainder of Bill C-23 will be debated at a more leisurely pace when Parliament resumes in late September.
The government has been accused of deliberately delaying the bill — which was introduced a month ago and has made little legislative progress since — in order to create a last-minute crisis.
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